Background: Cerebral vasospasm (CV) is a potentially disastrous consequence of subarachnoid hemorrhage despite medical treatment. Nimodipine is a potent drug for vessel relaxation, but side effects may preclude a sufficient dose.
Objective: To explore whether continuous local intra-arterial nimodipine administration (CLINA) can reverse vasospasm and prevent delayed ischemic neurological deficit.
Methods: Six consecutive subarachnoid hemorrhage patients (5 women; mean age, 47.2 years) with severe CV despite maximum medical therapy underwent CLINA within 2 hours after the onset of clinical symptoms. After anticoagulation, microcatheters were inserted distally in the concerning supra-aortic vessels. Glyceryl trinitrate injection (2 mg) was followed by CLINA (nimodipine 0.4 mg/h for 70-147 hours). Duration of CLINA was determined by neurological status, transcranial Doppler sonography, and partial tissue oxygen pressure values.
Results: In all patients, neurological deficits improved or partial tissue oxygen pressure values returned to normal and transcranial Doppler sonography confirmed a reduced blood flow velocity within 12 hours. Magnetic resonance imaging showed no ischemic lesion caused by CV. Neurological outcome was good (modified Rankin Scale score, 0-2) in 3 patients, whereas 1 patient had a moderate clinical outcome (modified Rankin Scale score, 3-4) and 2 patients had a poor outcome (modified Rankin Scale score, 5) because of the SAH.
Conclusion: Preliminary data show that CLINA is a straightforward, effective, and safe option for patients with severe CV refractory to medical therapy. Dilation of spastic arteries starts within a few hours and is lasting. Indication for CLINA is peripheral and diffuse CV at any location.
Copyright © 2011 by the Congress of Neurological Surgeons